Speaking at Landsarkivet in Visby

Adam and I were invited to speak at Landsarkivet in Visby, during Arkivens Dag.

That was an amazing invite, as the mission of the National Archive reverberates strongly with us (GO ARCHIVE TEAM!)! Ever since the 17th century (we shit you not!) they have stored, kept safe and promoted access to all kinds of written, typed and printed artifacts of the Swedish society. If it wasn’t carved on a rune stone, these people stored it. (someone else takes care of the stones. :)) We’re talking content from both public sectors, private corporation and individuals. It’s huge! In fact – the National Archive represents Swedens single largest cultural ministry. So. Loooove.

Back to the talk? You bet! Our abstract was;

Good Games = Good Learning:

Life is too short to RTFM. Any good game teaches you while you play. They keep you on the edge of your ability, constantly engaged and striving to be better. If you’ve ever said – if you’ve even thought – “why can’t my children be as interested in their education as they are in that game”, this presentation is for you. Adam Mayes and Ulf Benjaminsson – from Gotland University GAME – will demonstrate how all good games offer a powerful learning environment, and how the patterns and methods they use can be easily transferred.

We started with a short de-tour, addressing last weeks media coverage of “game addiction”. Even though no-one in the audience had heard the debate it felt important to slay that beast. With fire.

The audience was entirely foreign to us (and we for them) so the first half was groundwork – what is a game? Most reasonable people are not used to system thinking or design, so this was necessary but too abstract.

But by the half-way point we hit our stride and cruised on top of well ordered problems (“scaffolded challenges”), self-motivated exploration of problem space, forming strong hypothesizes and validating them, fluid intelligence, grey matter and the neuroscience of intrinsic reinforcement. Lot’s of nodding heads and relieved smiles at this point. 🙂

The audience were hardly fighting for seats, but it’s really not the size of the audience, it’s having the right audience. You never know who’s sitting among the present few, and what effect your work can have on them.

In this regard, our audience was awesome. We had Nils – a ten year old who builds games with Scratch. He asked some really good questions and we spent quite some time with him afterwards. We had the director of the Swedish Archives, who devoured what we were saying and suggested future collaborations. As did Marie Anderson – an amazing teacher-lady running the Gold Apple-awarded education on northern Gotland; applying modern tech and language to primary school education.

We actually used her as an example in our talk, and she didn’t even realize it was her we were talking about. She was like “amazing! are there more people doing this too?!”. Hahaha! 😀

Anyway. Converted a few minds, made lots of new contacts, wrote a pretty decent presentation. Good game!

… and they gave us flowers! 😀

Gamex 2012

Twentytwelve is an inbetween year. All new consoles are to be released next year, and Activision (making up probably 30% of last years floor space) flat-out refused to exhibit after Swedish television fcked them up the bum last year.

The exhibition, thus, was the smallest incarnation since it’s inception three years ago. We didn’t pull any punches though. Kept the space from last year – 60 sqm – and filled it with 22 students and their projects. We had a massively powerful selection and got a lot of press for it. Swedish Game Awards-winner “Secrets of Grindea“, Gotland Game Conference pwnage-awarded “Little Warlock“. The touch and motion controlled Walkabout Journeys, camera- and gravity controlled “Block Dropper“, just to mention a few.

Here’s some of the things published about us;
Skillpoint.se – BlockDropper – Gamex 2012
MegaZine.se – Intryck: Little Warlock
Spelbart – Gamex Spotlight: Secrets of Grindea
Kraid.se (on Little Warlock)
Tvspelsdagboken vs. Gamex 2012
FreeRadical.se – Longing for Little Warlock

We will add to this list as stuff comes up. Do you know a link we’ve missed? Add it in the comments, thanks!

Gearing up for Gamex

60 square meters. 20+ students and staff. 7 game projects; Secrets of Grindea, Little Warlock, Voodoo nightmare, The Elite, Post Mortem, Walkabout and BlockDropper.

Meet us at Gamex, Stockholm next weekend (1-4 november). Meet our staff, talk to our students, try their games. Find out if a university education in game design and development is your next adventure. 🙂

This is our third year at Gamex – check out 2010 and 2011.

Grendel Games visits Gotland

We met Jan-Jaap when we visited the Netherlands earlier this year. Him and Tim Laning founded Grendel Games at the end of the 90s and have since made a reasonable living from well crafted, expertly designed and validated, serious games.

In December they’ll release their newest title. A consumer-friendly serious game for the Wii with (optional) custom made controllers. How is this a serious game?

The skills required for mastery of this game overlaps entirely with the skills required to perform laparoscopic surgery.

Just to be clear: the game has *nothing* to do with surgery, but surgeons playing this game (with the custom controller) become demonstrably better at performing real world keyhole surgery. Throughout development Grendel Games have been collaborating with hospitals in the Netherlands, to validate the design and effect of the game and hardware. Absotively awesome!

Jan-Jaap has been on Gotland before, serving as a juror at Gotland Game Conference. But it was the first time we got to meet Tim. We’re currently looking in to ways for GAME and Grendel to collaborate further – internships for our students and most likely a few research projects are in the dreampipeline.

Stay stunned!